His father Ian may already be a part of the rugby league sporting furniture in New South Wales but Wanderers’ junior Tate Russell is aiming to make the Russell surname a household one in the round ball game too.
The bombarding fullback from Gwyneville is the son of former Illawarra Steelers great Ian Russell, who made over 100 appearances for the Wollongong club during the mid-eighties and beyond.
The 16-year-old talent is small in stature but robust on the field, being one of several Wanderers starlets who have made steps towards consistent first team action in the Western Sydney’s inaugural NPL season.
A former Wollongong Olympic prospect, Russell hopes to continue his progress towards the Hyundai A-League first team, where he hopes to join former Wanderers striker Tahj Minniecon as the second Indigenous player to wear the Red & Black.
“It would be my dream to get into the Hyundai A-League but I’ve got to constantly get better, work harder and ask every question I have,” mused Russell.
“But being at the Wanderers gives you plenty of motivation to want it more.”
Having an ex-sportsman in the house could prove handy for Russell as he targets his next big breakthrough, with his father on hand to offer expert advice during lengthy journeys to training.
“He just tells me to work hard. It’s great to hear about the professionalism he went through.”
The Wanderers are nearing the end of the regular season in the NPL2 with the emergence of Russell in the first-team a rewarding positive for both player and squad.
“We’ve had a lot of boys come up to first team after playing under 18’s, there’s a difference in quality and the players are physical.
“But the older boys in the first team like Tariq Maia, Cameron Devlin and Keanu Baccus have all taken the reins of the team and helped us adapt.”
Members can watch Tate Russell and his teammates in action as they take on Sydney FC this Sunday at Popondetta Park. First grade kick-off at 3pm with attendees needing to pre-register.